Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Book of Memento

One of the problems I have with reading the scriptures consistently is that if I know the plot, my mind tends to switch to autopilot and skim. It's very difficult for me to concentrate on words I've read dozens of times.

So recently I started the Book of Mormon again, but from the end reading backwards. I'm into 3rd Nephi now and I can report that it's going quite well. It definitely breaks up the monotony of beginning with the same story every time (though as I've mentioned before, I think that shared experience has a larger meaning) and smacks of Memento, the deliciously clever movie where you see all the scenes in reverse chronological order. Ether was especially interesting because it's such a microcosm of the whole Book of Mormon--ending with a bloodbath and seeing how it came to that, chapter by chapter. It's like flashbacks that fill in the motives behind the climax you already witnessed. I like it.

How have you studied the scriptures in unique ways?


  1. I have read it backwards too. Have I ever told you about that? In an effort to mix things up I took a different scripture approach, inspired by my film class. It always feels like a bit of a Film Noir, where you start off with a bunch of dead bodies and then slowly discover how it happened. I'm just missing the part where a tortured, but beautiful, dame enters a cynical investigator's office with a mystery....but I figure we get pretty close in the New Testament with Mary Magdalene and Simon Peter in John 20: 1-2, so I don't mind its BOM absence.

    "1. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher.
    2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him."

    Just imagine that in eerie black-and-white film, set in the 1940's. Perfect.

  2. I don't think you ever told me about that, but maybe I just subconsciously stole it from you. Either way, I'm glad we agree that it's a good take on a familiar book. And that is an absolutely amazing idea, to take it as a scriptural film noir. My hat is off to you, Ms.

  3. I'd like to think that you were actually wearing a hat, to take off to me. Perhaps a fedora.

    But. on the thread of unique ways of studying the scriptures, I have started having the scriptures fed to me on my blog everyday via LDS Scriptures daily (, which gives me a chapter a day. This ensures that I finish to completion and that I am paced. I check my blog each day, so it makes it easy.

    Another strange course of study was to read, slowly translating all the male language and characters into female ones in my head and digesting the new way I would look at it.

    That was fun.

  4. Sadly there is no hat. Sorry. But good ideas all! Thanks!

  5. First of all, Memento was one of the best movies I've ever seen. I'd like to read the scriptures backwards now.

    As for unique ways to study, I think studying in a different language often helps. I've been reading it in russian for the past few years now, and often times there are passages that I like better in Russian that in English.

    I have also read them while doing different voices and accents for all the different characters who are speaking. Mormon's narration is like a deep bass, sometimes british, sometimes Sean Connery-ish. Then I come up with a different voice for all the characters who have speaking roles. my favorites to do are the evil guys, and the whiny Laman and Lemuel.

  6. Hahaha Justin I can just picture you doing voices (and making faces too) as you read. Excellent idea!

  7. i love the idea!! that's so wonderful.
    i usually just try to read it looking for one thing at a time, ie. temple, faith, etc.